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1

Jan

2009

Latha’s Pregnancy

Community Friends’ health clinic in Waitalawa, Sri Lanka, is in a remote mountain village situated in one of the best high-elevation tea plantation regions. Before we started offering monthly free clinics at the village, people had to walk nearly 10 kilometers to even reach a bus or three-wheeler to then take them to a local doctor. Our monthly clinics provide onsite health care led by our volunteer, Dr. Ajith, and other volunteer medical staff.

Last year, Latha, a newly married 22-year old woman came to our clinic. She lives with her parents and husband. Her husband works as a farmer in a small village far away from Waitalawa. After Latha’s marriage, her parents and husband wanted her to have a child immediately. Although she loves children, Latha explained that she was not emotionally ready. Her parents asked us to talk to their daughter about the situation.

latha

Seevali, one of our directors, along with our female doctor talked with Latha a couple of times and learned that she is afraid of becoming pregnant. We suggested therapy and our doctors began working with her. After only one month of therapy, we were surprised to hear that she was pregnant. She had decided to have a child without telling the doctors. She said that she “must please her parents and husband.” Her morning sickness became a serious illness compounded by her fear of pregnancy. Latha experienced continuous vomiting, no food intake at all, dehydration, and fainting until she suddenly collapsed. That night her mother called us for help. We went to the village and found Latha in very bad condition and immediately transported her to Kandy General Hospital about an hour’s drive from the village. Latha was admitted to the hospital and Dr. Ajith was alerted. Doctors at the hospital said that both Latha and her unborn baby were in critical danger.

Everything happened so quickly even her husband, who was away in another village working, didn’t know anything about the illness until he came home. While Latha was hospitalized, Seevali stayed with her each day, feeding her and personally monitoring her condition with hospital staff to make certain she was getting enough medical attention. The public hospital system requires having someone serve as a patient’s medical advocate. After three days in the hospital, Latha’s condition stabilized and she returned home to Waitalawa safely.

Latha is still coming to our monthly medical clinics and she is in good health now. Thanks to all Community Friends well-wishers and staff, we expect Latha will become a happy mother of a healthy child later this month.

Thanks,

Deva Ratnakara